E-scooter maker Ola to launch made-in-India electric cars in two years

E-scooter maker Ola to launch made-in-India electric cars in two years (Photo by Manjunath Kiran / AFP)

E-scooter maker Ola to launch made-in-India electric cars in two years

  • Ola Electric plans to start producing electric cars in India in 2024 with a range of up to 500km.
  • The firm claims “it will be the sportiest car ever built in India with an all glass roof.”
  • The company is currently setting up an EV ecosystem, aiming to produce cars, two wheelers and batteries all at a single plant in the state of Tamil Nadu.

In India, Ola Electric is commonly known for its low-cost and high-performance electric scooters, but the company has been teasing the idea of adding two more wheels and producing full-size electric cars since 2021. This week, after months of anticipation, the EV arm of ride-hailing firm Ola, finally announced plans to start producing electric cars in India by 2024, with a range of up to 500km per charge.

The announcement came on the heels of the company’s recent update on its global R&D center in the UK, which is nearing completion, to meet the demand for its upcoming electric cars. To recall, the company has already expressed interest in developing other electric vehicles on both the higher and lower end of the performance spectrum and the latest move shows that Ola is intent on making real progress towards that goal.

For Chief Executive Bhavish Aggarwal, while companies like Tesla are leading the way in building electric vehicles (EVs) more suited for Western markets, India can lead in the area of small cars, scooters and motorbikes for which global demand is higher. Ola’s electric car with the most advanced features would go from 0 to 100kph in four seconds, Aggarwal said.

Designed to deliver a drag coefficient of less than 0.21, it will be the sportiest car ever built in India with an all glass roof. The car will also be equipped with advanced computers in a 4W, assisted driving capabilities, keyless and handless doors. It will also have Ola’s very own MoveOS software and car owners will be able to receive regular feature updates through their ownership span

We believe that India needs to become the global epicenter of the EV revolution and command 25% of the world’s automotive market. As we build for India, we will also be creating the EV paradigm for the rest of the world,” Aggarwal said. “We missed the semiconductor, solar, electronic and other manufacturing revolutions. If we invest now, we can lead the electric cells and batteries market,” he added

Aggarwal also claimed that “This is the most ambitious car project ever undertaken in India. It was built in India by Indians, but for the entire world.” At full scale, Aggarwal said the company’s facility in Tamil Nadu “will produce a million cars, 10 million two-wheelers, and 100 gigawatt-hour of cells every year”. He however, didn’t reveal the total funding required for building the cars but said it is going to be a “multibillion-dollar” investment over the next few years.

He also shared that Ola’s vision is to be a global leader in the cars that are relevant for such markets. Overall, he said his company would be making electric products in the price range of US$1,000 to US$50,000. “The electric car that we are making in India would be at a higher end of that price segment,” he added.

As for its global R&D center in the UK, Ola Electric plans to invest £100 million over the next five years, and currently employs around 200 designers and engineers to work on its upcoming products, like the new electric car. The facility, called Ola Futurefoundry, will supplement and collaborate with Ola Electric’s team back in India to deliver new EVs across two-wheeler, four-wheeler and other segments in coming days.

The Indian EV market has been evolving fast especially in the last few years and  close to 0.32 million vehicles were sold in 2021, up 168% year or year, according to IBEF..Ola’s venture into India’s electric car market will see it compete with Tata Motors and Mahindra Electric Mobility, among others.